Minister Sisulu to brief media on the Ministerial Review Panel final report

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on wednesday  received a final report from the Ministerial Review Panel on its review of South Africa’s foreign policy.

Minister Sisulu appointed the Review Panel in 2018 to make an in-depth evaluation of the country’s foreign policies, including reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and possible gaps of the existing policies as well as their implementation.

The Minister will be joined by the Deputy Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers and Ms Reginah Mhaule, as well as members of the Review Panel.

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

10 of South Africa’s top trading partners

South Africa exports more than $90 Billion of products in 2018 to its trading partners globally, though limited by the countries geographical distance from its main export partners South Africa still manages to increase trade by 7% since 2017, which is 0.5% of global trade.

China the biggest buyer of South African (SA) goods with almost $9 Billion spent in 2018, making up more than 9% of foreigner exports. Germany and the United Sated making up SA’s second and third biggest importers of goods with 7.5% and 6.8% of foreign trade.

In terms of African trade partners Botswana 7th, Namibia 8th and Mozambique 9th which along with South Africa make up the Southern African Development Community contributing a combined $11 Billion showing how the African bloc is very key growth in the region and for South Africa.

 

Source: worldstopexports.com

 

First co-production between South Africa and China currently in development

The first-ever co-production between South Africa and China – a conservation-inspired story entitled No Man’s Land – is in advanced stages of development.

With Darrell, Roodt set to direct and Murray Clive Walker slated for a starring role, the project represents an exciting partnership between the two BRICS countries.

No Man’s Land is largely set in China’s Qinghai Province, situated in the northern foothills of the Himalayas, as well as the northern wetlands of Gauteng. It tells the story of a conservationist who strives to protect China’s endangered red-crowned crane. When she comes across a blue crane with a South African tag, she decides to return the bird to its original nesting-ground.
The production of No Man’s Land plans to bring Africa and Asia together in a friendly, cultural collaboration. The film will be the first co-production of its kind between China and South Africa, and will also mark a big step towards greater cultural collaboration between the BRICS countries.

“In the future, we hope to shoot more films that communicate to the world the beauty, charm and ethnic diversity that these countries possess. China and South Africa have a good political relationship and we want to strengthen it through this kind of cultural storytelling,” says Murray Clive Walker, who is also acting as co-producer of the film.

Walker explains that he set up Colony Films “six months ago, with the express purpose of doing a co-production with China. I got back to Johannesburg at the end of 2017, after working in China for 14 years, and it was a question of deciding to ‘do what I know.’ It occurred to me that I could leverage my Chinese resources and the experience I had of working in both countries.”

Walker continues: “I was in conversation with producer Jin – who I met about seven or eight years ago doing another movie – and he was on the lookout for a top director for this project of his. I told him I knew Darrell Roodt, who is an Oscar-nominated director – but the more we spoke about it, the more we both realized it would be ideal to make it a co-production.”

Providing an update of the progress of the project, Walker explains that “we have completed the first stage of three. We have just invited two Chinese representatives to Cape Town and Johannesburg to meet with Darrell and producer Greig Buckle at Enigma Pictures – a company which has done great work over the years in production services, including five months on Mad Max: Fury Road. The representatives also visited Cape Town Film Studios, Atlantic Film Studios, and Refinery Post Production, and conducted meetings at the Gauteng Film Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chinese Embassy.”

Walker and Roodt are “currently working on the script to adapt it for the co-production. We need to flesh out the local scenes and make sure we have twenty-one filming days in South Africa – and next, we’ll fly over to Beijing in April. There’ll be a whole delegation of us, hopefully with representatives from the Gauteng Film Commission and the DTI, to participate in the official signing of the contract. And after that,” he concludes, “we’ll be able to head into production.”

 

RELEASED BY: Screen Africa 

China and Russia Launch Scientific Cooperation in Arctic

The agreement aimed at the establishment of China-Russia Arctic Research Center (CRARC) was signed on April 10, at the International Arctic Forum held in St. Petersburg.

The Agreement is to document the development of bilateral cooperation between the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao) (QNLM) and P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of Russian Academy of Sciences (IO RAS) targeted at Arctic research and preservation of its indigenous natural wealth.

“The intensive development of Arctic shelf endangers its ecological system thus dictating the necessity for a profound investigation into natural processes happening therein. Being the Great Oceanic Powers, Russia and China boast vast experience and competencies to address comprehensive fundamental challenges associated with the Arctic region. The newly established Center will take ChinaRussia scientific cooperation to a new level. Jointly we will be able to initiate and implement major projects, including joint Arctic expeditions, to foster innovative dialogue as related to exploration of ocean mineral and biological resources to preserve unique subsea ecological systems. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and China, and the establishment of China-Russia Arctic Research Center will be the best contribution to the development of partnership between our countries,” noted Aleksey Sokov, Acting Director of the Institute of Oceanology.

“Our cooperation carries great importance for deepening the understanding of the region and identifying the Arctic’s effect on global climate change. It will benefit peoples of our two sides and of the rest of the world, as well. I’m confident that our cooperation will bring the Arctic research great prosperity,” stated Prof. PAN Kehou, Secretary General of QNLM Academic Committee.

The activities of the Center are aimed at joint research in the Arctic, including full-scale measurements onboard the Institute’s research vessels, analysis of climatic, geological, biogeochemical processes and trends of ecosystem changes in the Arctic region. The obtained results will contribute to accurate prediction of ice conditions at the Northern Sea Route and providing recommendations for the environmentally sound development of the Arctic region being intensively developed. Also, the Center will involve outstanding scientists from the major research institutions of Russia and China.

According to Prof. WU Lixin, Director of QNLM Executive Committee, “QNLM has put forward an international cooperation strategy to develop close and efficient research cooperation and partnership. We have established the International Center for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR) collaborated with CSIRO in Australia. The signing of the agreement to establish CRARC marks an important step forward for QNLM in the process of developing a worldwide collaborative innovation network. After establishment, CRARC will focus on major scientific issues and strengthen researches in such fields as physical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, marine biology, marine chemistry, and air-sea interaction in the Arctic by pooling in advantageous research resources and teams in China and Russia. Joint efforts will be made in Arctic marine science research, which will promote the construction of ‘Silk Road on Ice’. In the future, QNLM looks forward to more fruitful and efficient partnerships worldwide to contribute to the sustainable development of the world oceans and a shared future for mankind.”

-prnewswire.com

Fourth Industrial Revolution Centre opens in South Africa

The South African Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane this morning spoke at a breakfast forum announcing the establishment of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in South Africa.

In the very near future, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will infiltrate every facet of life and inseparable from economic growth globally, according to minister Kubayi-Ngubane. The centre is the beginning of the journey and will provide a platform for cooperation between government and business.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will host this centre and has already identified priorities that the centre must develop which include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, distribution ledge technology, and precision medicine.

4IR has the potential to help South Africa overcome some of persisting challenges like unemployment, poverty, and inequality but only if the country can ready itself and be ahead of the techno-economical curve.

Source: engineeringnews.co.za

 

Russia stops all cooperation with NATO

Photo: NATO

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko said in an interview that Russia has stopped all association with NATO—North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

Related: BRICS VS NATO: The differences and how they compare

NATO suspended military and civilian cooperation with Russia in 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine. Russia, in February 2014 had several military attacks into the Ukrainian territory – after the fall of the then Ukraine President, Viktor Yanukovych—Russian soldiers in the absence of insignias took charge of military positions and took control of infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Grushko told the state ran media agency, RIA Novosti news agency that “NATO has itself abandoned a positive agenda in its relations with Russia. It doesn’t exist,” as reported by The Moscow Times.

The interview came a day after US military officers said that the lack of communication between the US and US could lead to a nuclear war by “mistake or miscalculation”. The former permanent Russia NATO representative between the years 2012 and 2018 warned NATO against military conflict with Russia.

Related: Trump to designate Brazil as a “Major Non-NATO ally”

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Additional reporting: The Moscow Times

 

[OPINION] Russia-China foreign cooperation are expanding

The Russia-China relationship is getting stronger with each year, these two countries have advanced cooperation not only in trade but also in understanding – they have become interdependent and have aligned the agendas influence and policies.

Russia and China getting closer are in the ever-growing BRICS bloc and the New Development Bank, which allows them to build soft power and influence with developing nations. The economic ties are also strengthened through entities like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The trade and economic tension created by the US with tariffs on China and sanctions Russia only seems to be driving these to powers closer together. Similar to how the US and EU work together Russia and China have started modeling their relationship the same way.  When it comes to foreign policy China and Russia see eye to eye on a number of issues.

They both support embattle Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with China provide and humanitarian aid and Russia now giving military support as well as both countries have called foreign entities to stay out of Venezuela. The same unified strategy was employed in Syria in assisting the Bashar al-Assad in staying in power.

China and Russia do have still have barriers slowing them down and preventing them from doing more, that being trust issues and a trade deficit which puts Russia at a disadvantage. Those barriers still don’t prevent China and Russia vote with each other in the United Nations Security Council, they’ve even in recent days given similar stands for transitioning governments in Sudan and Kazakhstan.

Some have painted the Russia-China relationship as one of necessity, one of the rivals who are not friends but as they enhance their collaborations on a number of issues on different continents they start to look more like friends working to advance each other’s collective interest rather than the individual.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

 

South Africa’s first digital economy summit

South Africa’s Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced the launch of South Africa’s first digital economy summit. The Minister said this at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg, on Thursday.

The summit endorsed by the cabinet will take place after South Africa’s elections – at the end of June.

Related story: Preview of the South African Elections

According to Ndabeni-Abrahams, people should be placed at the center of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) conversations.

“As the government, this is woven into all our 4IR interventions and, as such, we have been deliberate in seeking collaborative efforts that build a capable 4IR army. In the same breath, we must ensure that we create our own solutions that respond to our unique requirements as a country. Lastly, it is impotent that all sectors find expression in the 4IR conversation, ” she said, as reported by Engineering news.

Source: Engineering News

Preview of the South African Elections

The South African general elections will be taking place 8 May 2019 and the election according to polls is widely expected to be dominated the current ruling party the African National Congress (ANC), with president Cyril Ramaphosa expected to get a new term with a new mandate.

The ANC in its manifesto promised its own land forms, capable honest government and a growing economy.Pledged with corruption allegations on multiple party members this year’s election may be toughest the party has had to face since 1994.

There are 3 other opposition parties which will be looking to cut the ANC voter share, those being the Democratic Alliance (DA) lead Mmusi Maimane which is also the official opposition party which has promise to stop corruption and bring good governance to South Africa.

Third in the running is the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lead by Julius Malema which has pledged to bring land reform, job opportunities, prosperity and dignity for South Africans. The party is seen as the radical option for voters but is widely popular with South African youth.

The fourth main opposition party is the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) lead by Mangosuthu Buthelezi 90 year old and will be looking to maintain its long standing party position in parliament with its “Trust Us” campaign slogan. The IFP has promise to lower crime rates, create jobs and put education first.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Bolsonaro fires Education Minister

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired education Minister, Ricardo Vélez Rodriguez on Monday. Bolsonaro replaced the with the inexperienced Abraham Weintraub—a professor at the Federal University of São Paulo.

Weintraub has been named a conspiracy theorist as reported by the independent.co.uk. Bolsonaro made the announcement of his appointment on Twitter, stating that Abraham is a doctor, a university professor and has extensive management experience and the necessary knowledge for the portfolio.

The former education minister Ricardo Rodriguez was seen as very controversial due to his defy of Brazil’s 1964 coup and subsequent 21-year military dictatorship and using his position to push his agenda. But Weintraub is said to be as far right as Bolsonaro is and little different to Rodriguez.

 

Source: folha.uol.com.br